Student Union Building
Lubbock, TX 79409-1017
Student Legal Services
Monday - Friday
*You must have an appointment to visit with a lawyer
Click on a question below to see its answer
Yes. SLS has three full-time attorneys, licensed by the State Bar of Texas.
No. Any student currently enrolled at Texas Tech University is eligible to receive
services through this office free of charge. However, students are responsible for
all court costs associated with filing their suit in court.
No. SLS cannot advise students against another TTU/HSC student, faculty or staff member,
department or TTU/HSC as a whole. Should an issue of this nature arise, you should
contact the Student Resolution Center at (806) 742-SAFE (7233).
SLS provides representation and/or consultation in the following areas: landlord/tenant
disputes, uncontested divorces, uncontested family law matters, name changes, expunctions,
orders of nondisclosure, essential needs licenses, auto/medical claims, entity formation/business
start-up, consumer and civil matters, estate planning and contracts. SLS provides
consultation only in the following areas: employment law, intellectual property, criminal
law, child support, contested family law matters, medical malpractice, traffic tickets,
cases outside of Lubbock County, and fee generating contingent matters. SLS also provides
notary public services, mediation, and referrals to private attorneys and outside
SLS offers court representation in limited instances involving landlord tenant disputes,
uncontested family law cases, some consumer issues, expunctions, orders of non-disclosure,
essential needs licenses and probate of small estates.
Yes. To ensure that the attorney you need is available you will need to schedule an
appointment. For our appointment hours please refer to the "Contact Us" link.
SLS requests that appointments are made if you need more than three documents notarized
& Texas law requires that you bring a U.S. Government issued photo ID (ex. State ID
Card, Driver's License, U.S. Passport, Military issued ID Cards, USCIS issued ID Cards).
Contact the police department immediately to file a police report. Failure to file
a report within 24 hours from the date of the incident may bar you from taking any
legal action against the other party.
No. SLS does not provide representation to students regarding traffic tickets.
You may qualify to petition the court for an occupational driver’s license that will
allow you to drive to and from work and school. Your driving will be restricted to
certain hours of the day, days of the week, and locations within the state of Texas.
In order to obtain an occupational license, certain requirements must be met and fees
must be paid. Please consult with one of the SLS attorneys regarding the specific
facts of your case.
Under the Texas "Lemon Law," a state law that helps consumers who buy or lease new
motor vehicles and have repeated problems getting their vehicles properly repaired,
a consumer can get the vehicle repurchased, replaced, or repaired (the relief available
to used motor vehicle buyers is limited to repairs only, if the vehicle is still under
the original factory warranty). The Lemon Law applies to new vehicles (including cars,
trucks, vans, motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, motor homes, towable recreational
vehicles (TRVs), and neighborhood electric vehicles) purchased or leased from a Texas
licensed dealer or lessor that develop problems covered by a written factory warranty.
Demonstrator vehicles are also considered new vehicles. The law does not cover used
motor vehicles (including program vehicles), repossessed vehicles, non-travel trailers,
boats or farm equipment. Neither does it cover vehicles with:
Upon request, show them your driver's license and proof of insurance. In certain cases,
your car can be searched without a warrant as long as the police have probable cause.
To protect yourself later, you should make it clear that you do not consent to a search.
It is not lawful for police to arrest you simply for refusing to consent to a search.
If you are given a ticket, you should sign it. Otherwise, you can be arrested. You
can always fight the case in court later. If you are suspected of drunk driving and
refuse to take a blood, urine or breathalyzer test, your driver's license may be suspended.
However, you have the right to refuse any of these tests.
There are two ways to prevent third parties from obtaining information regarding your
criminal history and/or arrest. The first is to have the offense expunged from your
criminal record. This process requires that all local, state and federal agencies
destroy the arrest records, which may take up to one year. The second way to is to
obtain an Order of Non-Disclosure. This prevents most third parties from obtaining
the information, but criminal justice agencies and non-criminal justice agencies authorized
by federal statute or executive order or by state statute to receive criminal history
record information still have access to the records. Certain qualifications must be
met in order to qualify for an expunction or order of non-disclosure. Please contact
SLS to find out if you are eligible.
The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACT Act) was signed into law in December
2003. The FACT Act, a revision of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, allows consumers
to get one free comprehensive disclosure of all of the information in their credit
file from each of the three national credit reporting companies once every 12 months
through a Central Source. For more information visit the following websites:
Under the Federal Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), both the Credit Reporting Agency (CRA)
and the organization that provided the information to the CRA, such as a bank or credit
card company, have responsibilities for correcting inaccurate or incomplete information
in your report. To protect all your rights under the law, contact both the CRA and
the information provider. View a Sample Dispute Letter.
First, tell the CRA in writing what information you believe is inaccurate. Include
copies (NOT originals) of documents that support your position. In addition to providing
your complete name and address, your letter should clearly identify each item in your
report you dispute, state the facts and explain why you dispute the information, and
request deletion or correction. You may want to enclose a copy of your report with
the items in question circled. Your letter may look something like the Sample Credit
Report Dispute Letter. Send your letter by certified mail, return receipt requested,
so you can document what the CRA received. Keep copies of your dispute letter and
CRAs must reinvestigate the items in question-usually within 30 days-unless they consider
your dispute frivolous. They also must forward all relevant data you provide about
the dispute to the information provider. After the information provider receives notice
of a dispute from the CRA, it must investigate, review all relevant information provided
by the CRA, and report the results to the CRA. If the information provider finds the
disputed information to be inaccurate, it must notify all nationwide CRAs so they
can correct this information in your file.
When the reinvestigation is complete, the CRA must give you the written results and
a free copy of your report if the dispute results in a change. If an item is changed
or removed, the CRA cannot put the disputed information back in your file unless the
information provider verifies its accuracy and completeness, and the CRA gives you
a written notice that includes the name, address, and phone number of the provider.
Also, if you request, the CRA must send notices of corrections to anyone who received
your report in the past six months. Job applicants can have a corrected copy of their
report sent to anyone who received a copy during the past two years for employment
purposes. If a reinvestigation does not resolve your dispute, ask the CRA to include
your statement of the dispute in your file and in future reports.
Second, in addition to writing to the CRA, tell the creditor or other information
provider in writing that you dispute an item. Again, include copies (NOT originals)
of documents that support your position. Many providers specify an address for disputes.
If the provider then reports the item to any CRA, it must include a notice of your
dispute. In addition, if you are correct-that is, if the disputed information is not
accurate-the information provider may not use it again.
Contact the fraud departments of any one of the three major credit reporting bureaus
to place a fraud alert on your credit file:
The fraud alert requests creditors to contact you before opening any new accounts
or making any changes to your existing accounts. As soon as the credit bureau confirms
your fraud alert, the other two credit bureaus will be automatically notified to place
fraud alerts. Once the alert is placed, you may order a free copy of your credit report
from all three major credit bureaus.
Visit the following Web sites for more detailed information:
You can legally stop all harassing phone calls from the collection agencies by sending
a cease and desist letter via certified mail to the collection agency requesting them to stop contacting you.
Retain a copy of this letter for future reference. Once the collection agency receives
this letter, they are required to stop communicating with you; they can only inform
you about the actions that will be taken against you.
The Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and the Texas Debt Collection
Act (TDCA) prohibit debt collectors from engaging in certain conduct, and requires
that debt collectors treat consumers fairly (relatively speaking).
These laws require collectors to provide consumers with written notice of the amount
they believe the consumer owes, the name of the consumer's creditor and the action
the consumer should take to dispute the debt.
The laws also prohibit collectors from:
A landlord may not retain any portion of the security deposit to cover normal wear
and tear. A landlord must provide a written description and itemized list of damages
to the premises or such right to withhold any portion of the security deposit is forfeited.
A landlord who fails either to return a security deposit or provide a written description
and itemization of deductions on or before the 30th day after the date the tenant
surrenders possession, where the tenant has complied with the proper move-out procedures
and provided the tenant's forwarding address in writing, is presumed to have acted
in bad faith. A landlord who retains a deposit in bad faith is liable for an amount
equal to the sum of $100, three times the portion of the deposit wrongfully withheld,
and the tenant's reasonable attorney's fees in a suit to recover the deposit. However,
the landlord is not required to remit the deposit and/or itemized deduction if the
tenant owes rent upon surrender or the tenant fails to comply with a thirty day notice
of move out provision (if required by the lease). If you are seeking the return of
your security deposit please see our move out notice/request for return of security
The Texas Property Code requires landlords to repair any problem that affects the
health or safety of an ordinary tenant. A lease agreement may increase this responsibility
to include a wider range of conditions. For this reason, one should always check the
lease's specific provisions to determine what repairs have been agreed to by contract.
Nevertheless, the Texas Property Code contains four basic requirements tenants must
meet to demand repairs:
If the repair is of the appropriate kind, and if all four statutory requirements are
met, the landlord must repair. If the repairs are not made seven days after the landlord
receives the second notice, the tenant may terminate the lease without penalty. The
former tenant may then institute a lawsuit seeking to recover:
Alternatively, the tenant may sue without moving. This action may seek:
The tenant can also hire someone to make the repairs. SLS recommends that you first
send your landlord a letter requesting repair, please see Request for Repair in our
forms section. If, after a reasonable time period has passed, your landlord has not
repaired the problem, please contact our office for assistance. Terminating your lease
can result in significant liability if done improperly; therefore, we strongly advise
you to contact our office before invoking this remedy.
Generally, a landlord has the duty to equip residential rental dwellings with the
following items, even in the absence of a tenant request:
The landlord must repair or replace a security device on request or notification by
the tenant that the security device is inoperable or in need of repair or replacement.
Furthermore, a landlord must comply with tenant requests within a reasonable time.
Different time periods are presumed reasonable in particular cases. A landlord's compliance
with a tenant's request for rekeying, changing, installing, repairing, or replacing
a security device is presumed reasonable if it occurs no later than the seventh day
after the date the request is received by the landlord.
Not usually. Unless your landlord has violated Texas law or breached your lease agreement,
you are bound by the terms of your lease.
Failure to provide the proper notice of move-out after the written lease term has
expired may result in a month to month tenancy. You should look at the lease prior
to termination to see the terms for completion. Customarily, 30 days WRITTEN notice
prior to move out is required or the landlord may withhold the security deposit due
to your failure to give notice. Do your part to prevent loss of your security deposit.
Give 30 days written notice prior to move out. This means that you must give notice
to your landlord EVEN THOUGH there is a termination date stated in the lease. Even
if you have no written lease, state law requires that you give thirty days notice
BEFORE you move out. If you are moving out prior to your lease termination date under
a special arrangement with your landlord, then have that arrangement put in writing.
Changing a written contract requires that the change be in writing. Give the landlord
a forwarding address, in writing, for the return of your security deposit. See Move
Out Notice to Landlord/Request for Return of Security Deposit.
Regardless Even if the apartment was not clean when you moved in, it should be when
you move out. Also repair, if possible, any damage you caused during your tenancy.
Surrender all the keys to the apartment. This is usually done during the final walk-through
of the apartment and completion of the move-out form. Once these requirements have
been met, your landlord has 30 days to:
A notarization provides evidence that the signer personally appeared before a disinterested
witness (the notary). The notary must record the date of the instrument, the date
of the notarization, the name and residence of the signer, and how the signer was
Current driver’s license, passport or state ID card. Unacceptable documents include:
social security cards, credit cards, and student ID cards.
No appointment is necessary unless you have more than 5 documents that need to be
notarized. SLS provides notary services Monday – Friday, from 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
and 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
No, Texas notaries are prohibited from the following: notarizing I-9 forms, performing
notarizations for someone not personally present, and providing certified copies of
recordable documents (documents recorded with a governmental office, such as birth
certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates, etc.).
Our notary services are free to TTU/TTUHSC students, parents, staff and faculty members.
Texas law requires that you or your spouse live in the state of Texas six months and
in the county in which you wish to file in for three months immediately prior to the
filing of the divorce. Filing fees of approximately $250.00 must be paid at the time
the divorce is filed. The only reason, or "ground", for divorce necessary today is
"insupportability" or what is commonly called incompatibility. This "no-fault" divorce
can be obtained if either spouse wants it, even if the other spouse does not. The
old grounds of cruelty, abandonment, and adultery, although still on the books, are
seldom, if ever used. The petition must be on file at least 60 days before the divorce
can be finalized. There are no exceptions. Once this time period has passed, the party
who filed the divorce MUST appear at the court. Your court appearance will be arranged
by your SLS attorney. SLS provides representation to students for uncontested divorces.
An uncontested divorce is a divorce in which both spouses have agreed to all of the
essential terms of the divorce, including, but not limited to division of property,
debts and custody of children.
Mediation is an alternative approach to the traditional methods of resolving disputes.
Mediation is a voluntary, confidential, interactive process that enables disputants
to work through issues of importance that are causing conflict between them. During
a mediation session, an impartial person, the mediator, facilitates communication
between the parties to promote reconciliation, settlement or understanding. A mediation
session will provide you with a neutral forum to:
Before the crime: Photocopy BOTH sides of everything in your wallet so you will know
what was in your wallet. Record all account numbers and phone numbers for your credit
and bank accounts. File in a safe place that you can remember. Pilots your SS# is
on your license. Some states have this on the driver's license as well. If possible,
keep these in a separate place. SLS advises you NOT to carry your Social Security
Card with you EVER. Keep a copy of all this info at home and somewhere discreetly
in your car.
After the crime
A consumer has the right to cancel some consumer transactions if he contacts the merchant
no later than midnight of the third business day after the date the consumer signs
an agreement or offer to purchase. This only applies to specific consumer transactions
where the merchant or the merchant's agent engages in a personal solicitation of a
sale to the consumer at a place other than the merchant's place of business, and the
consumer's agreement or offer to purchase is given to the merchant or the merchant's
agent at a place other than the merchant's place of business (1) for the purchase
of goods or services that exceed $25.00 and for the purchase of real property that